I have now lost almost 9 stone, but still have more to lose (according to my doctor) before we can start the next stage of our fertility treatment. I recently bought a size 14 dress and my size 18 jeans are too big for me (my thick thighs are still saving lives though).
Despite the fall in the number on the scales and the smaller dress size I now wear, I've really struggled to align the person I see in the mirror with the way I see my actual body.
However, since starting this 'journey', I have felt more confident and I think part of that has been the ability to more easily find clothes I like. I've also been happier because I'm getting closer to my goal and for the first time I've felt like something has actually worked for me. Losing weight has also made me enjoy exercise and not feel as tired all the time, both of which have had big impacts on me. But it hasn't all been easy, especially where my mental health is concerned.
While losing as much weight as I have in the short time that I've managed it has been great in terms of achieving my goals, it hasn't left me with much time to keep up mentally. Considering it took me a long time to actually see the real size of my bigger body, now that I think about it, it isn't surprising that I haven't been able to change the mental image of myself at the same speed as I've changed my physical self.
I've realised quite recently that I'm still seeing myself as still being much bigger. While there wasn't anything wrong with my bigger body beyond the health issues, there were problems with my habits when I was at that size. Seeing myself as larger meant that I started to slip back into my old ways of thinking about food and exercise. I found myself more likely to make bad decisions when it came to the food I was eating and how I was spending my spare time.
I've never denied myself treats as I think cutting everything you love out isn't healthy or sustainable, but I have been smarter about when and what I eat. But not really seeing how far I have come and the body that I have now, it meant I fell back onto using food as a way of comforting myself, which actually triggered a mini depressive episode.
It also meant that my weight loss stalled. I gained a little bit of weight and then stayed the same for several weeks, which was frustrating and meant that I kept falling back on food to make me feel better. It wasn't until I tried on a dress that had been too small for me this time last year and found that it is now too big that I realised I wasn't seeing what my body was actually like now.
Although I promised myself I wouldn't get obsessed with the numbers on the scale, I realised that that was exactly what I had done so I stopped looking at the real physical changes. I hadn't noticed how much more defined my waist had become or how my arms had become more toned. In short, I hadn't realised how much smaller my body was.
For the last few weeks, I've spent time just appreciating how my body looks and feels. Yes, this means I've spent a lot of time looking in the mirror, but sometimes you need to do that so you can align the way you see yourself which how you actually look. I've paid attention to how my body has changed - both positively and negatively - so I can start seeing myself more clearly.
This is why I haven't really posted many outfit images recently, as I didn't want to post pictures of me smiling if I wasn't really feeling like smiling. When I have posted images, I've felt good - I even put a few up with no makeup on - and that has shown. But more importantly, I've posted pictures of days when I've felt happy, confident and at peace in my own skin.
My body is in no way perfect and I wouldn't want it to be. It still has signs of my bigger self and I'm totally okay with that as there was nothing wrong with who I was before my operation, just as there is nothing wrong with who I am now. But more than that, I see it for what it is and I'm going to continue to work hard to make sure I always do.
The results of all of this have been that I've managed to lose more weight, I am not holding onto clothes that no longer fit (I think keeping dresses in my wardrobe that were a few sizes too big has really held me back in terms of being realistic about my body) and I am back to feeling happy. It isn't all plain sailing though and I still have a few hurdles to scramble over, but this is a learning process and I'm now in a much better place to deal with it.